The Grateful Dead will be resurrected once more, this time with John Mayer.
As previously reported by Billboard, three of the Dead’s “core four” players — guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann — plan to continue the party, with John Mayer on guitar. Their first performance as Dead & Company is set for Halloween night (Oct. 31) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where the Grateful Dead had played more than 50 times since its formation in 1965. Joining the group on bass is Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers and Aquarium Rescue Unit and Ratdog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
Weir on the decision that took little deliberation: “It was a matter of who wanted to get back out on the road and keep doing it.” Mayer’s enthusiasm, he adds, “was the cherry on the sundae that made this project look like a good idea.”
On the song ‘Althea’ being the reason John Mayer became interested: “I just loved that riff,” Mayer explains. “There’s always that moment when you hear something that grabs you and you have a point a reference — that was mine. Now four years later, it’s what I call shaking the big Polaroid: really taking in and learning all that music.”
Adds Weir: “It’s gratifying to see somebody discover our work and it’s also fun to have someone whos cranked up about it — a new initiate into our way of doing things.”
Mayer is respectfully careful to note that the final decision on whether to move forward with Dead & Co. was not made until after Fare Thee Well: “It was all on hold until those guys could honor those shows and also see if they liked them.”
“I went, ‘Oh, this has to happen,'” he recalls. “They’re too good still, they’re too great to roll this back in the shop and call it a day.”
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